Nathan Chen overtakes Yuzuru Hanyu for world title with five quads

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American Nathan Chen rallied past Japanese megastar Yuzuru Hanyu for the figure skating world title with a masterful five-quadruple jump free skate in Stockholm on Saturday.

Chen, undefeated since placing fifth at the 2018 Olympics, cemented his favorite status for the 2022 Winter Games by overcoming an 8.13-point deficit from Thursday’s short program.

He totaled 320.88 points to prevail by 29.11 over another skater from Japan, 17-year-old Yuma Kagiyama, becoming the second man to three-peat as world champion in the last 20 years (after Canadian Patrick Chan).

Hanyu took bronze, another 2.59 back, after topping the short program.

Worlds conclude later Saturday with the free dance.

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Chen, after falling on a quad Lutz to open his short program, began his free skate by nailing the same jump. He put out the score to beat, which Hanyu could not match despite four quads in his free skate 16 minutes later.

“I think this is the best I’ve ever seen Nathan Chen,” NBC Sports analyst Johnny Weir said of a man who similarly battled back in the 2018 Olympics with a six-quad free skate to move up from 17th to fifth (under different rules that made six quads more doable).

Hanyu, after a flawless short program, erred on his first three jumping passes — putting a hand down on a quad Loop, stumbling out of a quad Salchow and landing low on a triple Axel — and was fourth in the free skate.

He has now lost all three head-to-heads with Chen since the 2018 Olympics. None of them have ended up close with margins of 43.87, 31.7 and 22.45. No man has won three consecutive Olympic titles in 90 years.

Kagiyama, the 2020 Youth Olympic champion, became the youngest men’s singles medalist in a decade, doing so in his senior worlds debut. Kagiyama, second after the short program, landed three quads in his free skate.

Jason Brown, the other American to qualify for the 24-man free skate, was seventh as the top finisher without a fully rotated quadruple jump. Brown landed an under-rotated quad to open his free skate and kept his standing from the short program.

“I gave it all I got,” a smiling Brown, who has skated on the top senior international level since 2013, told coach Tracy Wilson as he left the ice.

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Nathan Chen overtakes Yuzuru Hanyu for world title with five quads originally appeared on NBCSports.com